Emily walked home without seeing anyone else. She went in the back door of the store to her research room. She noted all the information from her rubbings and prepared to frame them. She looked up to see one of her inspirational sayings printed on the wall, 'Beauty is everywhere.' Yes even in these gravestones, she thought to herself. "It is just a shame no one else sees it." She said aloud to the walls.
"Sees what?" a new voice responded. Looking up, she saw a new person unexpectedly standing in the doorway.
"The beauty in old tombstones, " she said cautiously.
"I think people are just so afraid of death that they don't want to see the beauty in it." The woman posited walking toward Emily. She held out her hand. "I"m Cora Bartley. My husband is the new minister at the Methodist Church. I just love books, so I had to make this my first stop. I know you aren't open yet, but I saw a light on so I thought I would take the chance. You don't mind I hope?" She said in a rush.
"Um. No. Come on in." Emily said dusting off her hands. "My name is Emily Jones. It's lovely to meet another bibliophile."
"Ah, and you use big words too! We will be great friends." Cora exlaimed grabbing Emily's hand.
Emily smiled at her bewildered by this miraculous sprite who appeared in her life.
"Are you also an artist?" She asked indicating the rubbing she was framing.
"This? No. Just trying to do something useful with it. I am a historian at heart. This is further research for an author friend of mine. The names and dates are helpful, but the phrases and carvings tell me much as well. Getting a picture of the whole thing is useful when looking at birth and death practices from bygone centuries."
"That must be interesting work. How did you begin that work?"
"A lot of letters and email to strangers!" Emily said with a chuckle as she continued,"I found a blog from a blog from a research assistant and thought it would be a perfect way to supplement my income because e-books are killing my business here. So I started searching publishing sites for information. I found a few mentions of researchers, but nothing solid. So I just started sending letters offering my services. Eventually, I got some calls and then a few jobs."
"Patience must be one of your virtues. I don't think I could wait around for responses. Of course, I don't think I would be brave enough to send random letters to people. God certainly did bless your hard work."
"That he has. Being able to make a living doing something I love is certainly a grand blessing."
A look of surprise flitted across Cora's face. Emily knew the locals had been telling stories in the short amount of time she had been here. Thankfully the stories didn't seem to have an effect on this lovely new friend.
A comfortable pause settled between them as Cora investigated this new woman through the research studio in which she now found herself.